opinion

What editorial writers are saying about autism study retraction

The Lancet in February retracted a 1998 study that incorrectly linked the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine to autism.

Posted Feb. 22, 2010.

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A sampling of newspapers across the nation shows views on what impact the British medical journal's retraction of the study by Dr. Andrew Wakefield had on vaccination rates and why the retraction is important.

A reality check on autism and vaccines

The Wakefield study provided an easy and dramatic message: Shots cause autism. Avoid vaccines and save your child from the troubling condition. It's a scientific fact confirmed by a doctor. His findings expanded on other, equally ungrounded fears about other contaminants in vaccines. But it was pure quackery. San Francisco Chronicle, Feb. 7

Hippocrates would puke: Doctor hoaxed parents into denying kids vaccine

Perhaps no one did more than Wakefield to fuel fears of a link between vaccinations and rising autism rates -- fears that persist despite numerous studies refuting any connection. New York Daily News, Feb. 6

Autism and vaccines: Bogus study hurts research

Another casualty of The Lancet study is trust of medical research. Some parents were always skeptical about the study -- after all, since it appeared, 10 of its 13 authors disavowed its conclusion linking the developmental disorder to vaccines. Star-Ledger (New Jersey), Feb. 5

A welcome retraction

What is indisputable is that vaccines protect children from dangerous diseases. We hope that The Lancet's belated retraction will finally lay this damaging myth about autism and vaccines to rest. New York Times, Feb. 5

Fixing a medical miscue

Only time will tell whether the damage done by the study can be repaired. But the prestigious journal's repudiation of the study may lead to improved childhood immunizations against measles, mumps, and rubella. Toledo (Ohio) Blade, Feb. 6

Shoddy science put children's lives at risk

The Lancet, after years of criticism of the study's flawed methodology and shoddy science, finally retracted it. But like the bell that cannot be unrung, the belief that vaccines are more dangerous than the diseases they prevent persists among too many parents. Eagle-Tribune (North Andover, Mass.), Feb. 7

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